Has the notion of calling it a career even crossed the mind of former two-time heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua, this in light of what happened to him when he met the incredible Oleksandr Usyk on Saturday night in London? Possibly, but not likely. Joshua has already spoken of his belief that he can get revenge over Usyk, and AJ has also said he would be open to engaging in big fights with Tyson Fury and/or Deontay Wilder “without the belts” being on the line.
And of course, Joshua has that rematch clause, meaning Usyk – who will no doubt be accommodating to a return go with Joshua, feeling as the Ukrainian southpaw does that he himself can get even better – has to fight him a second time. But former featherweight king Naseem Hamed, who was in a somewhat similar position to Joshua back in April of 2001, when he had lost a decision to Marco Antonio Barrera and had a rematch clause at his disposal, says Joshua should call it a career.
Hamed never exercised his return with Barrera, preferring to sit idle until the clause expired and then, after engaging in just one relatively low-key fight, retiring (but never officially announcing his decision). Now, in speaking with ITV Box Office, Hamed said Joshua, who he does not think is a hard puncher, should retire from the sport.
“I just think this guy is not on the level he thinks he is. I think he’s in a dream world,” Hamed said of Joshua. “You know what, I know this sounds terrible, I think he should finish. Listen, I personally don’t think he’s a hard puncher anyway, in this game you need a get out of jail card, you need to be able to put them away. You need to be able to smash them up.”
So, harsh words from Hamed, or perhaps you agree – Joshua is not as good/great as he thinks he is? It would be a big shock if Joshua did retire, this after suffering two losses and being in a position to be able to avenge both of them (AJ having already avenged his shock loss to Andy Ruiz and now being in a position to at least be able to try and put right the Usyk loss). But Hamed shocked us when he quit, pretty much at his prime or close to it, after having suffered just one loss.
Joshua will no doubt have watched tape of the Usyk fight by now and maybe he is already formulating a plan in his mind over how he will bounce back once again. Or maybe not. Maybe Joshua will surprise us all and walk away. It’s incredibly doubtful that he will retire, however. Joshua has more to do. So did Hamed back in the day, but the Sheffield southpaw had lost the fire. Joshua very likely has not.